Access GUI of AWS ec2 instance of Ubuntu

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Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute is a service provided by amazon for performing computing operations by the users. We often create an ec2 instance for various requirements. Most of which are solved by accessing the instance via ssh. This enables you to get a CLI mode of interaction with your instance. It is suitable for most of your workloads, but sometimes it becomes necessary to have the GUI interaction with your instance.
Lets check out a way to access GUI of AWS EC2 instance of Ubuntu.

Instance Information

Go to ec2 console in AWS

Click on Launch Instances

The following window will be displayed.

Search for Ubuntu Instance and select the Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS

Choose an instance type

I have chosen t2.micro as it is eligible in Free-tier.

Leave the conf settings as it is or do some changes if you require.

I will go with the default settings in storage as well.

In Add Tags section, you can specify the tags that you want to associate with your instance. Here, I have specified a Name tag.

In the Configure Security Group settings, check for the existing rules

To add on security, you can specify the source with your ip, so that only you can ssh into that instance.

Click on Review and Launch. Check everything and click on Launch

A pop-up will emerge. If you have an existing key-pair, use that one or feel free to create a new key-pair

In Launch Status window, click on View Instances

Your newly created instance will be visible here, as shown below.

Click on Connect

Click on SSH client

Once all the instance is up and running, we continue with the following steps.

ssh into the instance

Now once, you are logged into your instance. Run the following commands

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

On prompting, type Y and press Enter

sudo sed -i 's/^PasswordAuthentication no/PasswordAuthentication yes/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Restart the service:
sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

sudo passwd ubuntu

sudo apt install xrdp xfce4 xfce4-goodies tightvncserver

On prompt, type Y and press Enter

echo xfce4-session> /home/ubuntu/.xsession 

sudo cp /home/ubuntu/.xsession /etc/skel

sudo sed -i ‘0,/-1/s//ask-1/’ /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini

Restart the service

sudo service xrdp restart


sudo reboot

Install Putty

Sudo apt-get install putty

Now, copy the public ip of your instance

Open Putty and paste the public ip in hostname

Copy the private ip of the instance

Add the source port to 8888 and click on Add.

Go to Auth.

Click on Browse

Search for the pem file

Click on Open

Click on Accept

Enter the login information

Now go to RDP

Click on New Connection Profile.


This window will open

Type username and password.

Click on OK

The following window will be displayed


Hey Readers, thank you for sticking up till the end. I hope this blog was informative and helped you in logging in the Ubuntu instance of EC2. Still, if you have any doubts, please feel free to drop your questions/suggestions in

To read more about the AWS services, visit the official documentation of AWS, here.

Written by 

Vidushi Bansal is a Software Consultant [Devops] at Knoldus Inc. She is passionate about learning and exploring new technologies.